By-law Enforcement

The City of Brantford has implemented a number of property related by-laws to ensure the community’s safety and establish an appearance standard for the city that is based on mutual respect for our fellow citizens. Officers work with property owners to encourage compliance in a timely fashion.

4 uniformed City by-law officers respond to complaints, investigate violations on public and private property, and enforce compliance of the City’s by-laws.

Complaints can be made by phone at 519-759-4150.

Anonymous calls or complaints with only partial information will not be investigated. Complainant information is kept strictly confidential.

The City’s by-law officers enforce the following by-laws:

 Property Standards By-law

The City's Property Standards By-law is governed by the Ontario Building Code and applies to:

  • Exterior yards including ground cover, hedges, dead decayed or damaged trees, dilapidated structures, driveways, parking areas, lighting fixtures and swimming pools that must be kept in good repair
  • Refuse Containers to be screened from public view
  • Fences and Signs must be structurally sound and in good repair
  • Retaining Walls must be in good repair and may require a Professional Engineer Report
  • Unsafe Conditions including garbage and pests such as bedbugs must be abated
  • Structure foundations and walls must be structurally sound and may require a Professional Engineer Report
  • Doors, Windows, Shutters, Stairs, Floors, Roofs, Landings, Decks and Balconies must be in good repair
  • Heating systems must be in good working order and provide heat to 21C or 70F
  • Electrical systems must be in good working order and may require an ESA Certificate
  • Drainage systems must ensure downspouts and sump pump run-off is directed away from neighbours
  • Fire damaged structures must be repaired or demolished
  • West Nile Virus must be abated

Resident/business owners can expect to receive a preliminary letter from the City advising of defects.

Property Standards Orders are issued for those properties where repairs are not forthcoming in a timely manner. Issued Orders carry a $125 administrative fee.

Orders are subject to appeal to the local Property Standards Committee. If you have received an Order and would like to appeal, please file a Notice of Appeal.

If an Order is confirmed, the City can have contracted services attend to complete all necessary repairs. An additional 25% administrative fee is then assessed.

 Lot Maintenance and Waste By-law
The City's Lot Maintenance and Waste By-law is designed to ensure property owners do simple things to maintain their property so as not to detract from the neighbourhood such as:
  • Ensuring your property is to be kept free and clear of waste, garbage, litter and refuse
  • Long grass and weeds must be cut and maintained to a height of 8 inches or 20 cm
  • Motor vehicles must be in an operative condition and must be currently licensed
  • Hedges and trees along sidewalks must be trimmed to ensure safe pedestrian travel
  • No person shall dump waste or litter on private or City property without permission

Should a complaint be received, By-law Officers will inspect to confirm a violation. A letter or Order will then typically be sent to the property owner. Issued Orders carry an automatic $125 administrative fee. Should an Order not be complied with, City approved contractors will complete the required work. All contractor costs will be submitted on taxes, plus an additional 25% administrative fee.

 Zoning By-law

The City's Zoning By-law lists the permitted uses for each property and their specific property zoning designation. In other words, it identifies every property in Brantford and what owners or occupants are allowed to do on their property as it relates to:

  • Shed locations
  • Flood lighting
  • Home Occupations
  • Lot coverage
  • Open storage
  • Parking of boats, trailers, and other recreational vehicles
  • Parking of commercial vehicles and school buses
  • Shipping Containers
  • Second dwelling units

Upon complaint, By-law Officers will inspect and advise owners of any infractions and the need to cease a non compliant use. An option for compliance can include obtaining a minor variance through a development application and/or the City's Committee of Adjustment.

 Swimming Pool Fence Enclosure By-law

The City's Swimming Pool Fence Enclosure By-law is in place to ensure sufficient fencing is constructed around swimming pools in order to protec public safety. A swimming pool is defined as a private outdoor tank or body of water used for swimming, diving or bathing that when filled can contain 0.5 metres (19.6 inches) of water. This also includes hot tubs.

Pool requirements:

  • A building permit is required prior to constucting a pool 
  • Adequate fencing must be installed and approved prior to a pool being filled with water
  • Adequate fencing includes required locks and closers on gates

Fencing regulations:

  • Chain link 9 gauge with 40mm or 1.5 inch links must be at least 1.22m or 4 ft. high 
  • 11 gauge with 50mm or 2 inch links must be at least 1.52m or 5 ft. high
  • Wood vertical boards must be built to a height of at least 1.22m or 4 ft. high and horizontal rails must be on the inside pool side of the fence to limit climb ability
  • Metal or wrought iron fencing must also be built to a height of 1.52m or 5 ft.
  • Do not drain to a neighbouring property. Drain to the street to a storm sewer or catch basin

If you see an unsafe or unattended pool, please advise the City right away.

 Fence By-law
The City's Fence By-law is in place to provide regulation for how fences are constructed. First, it is important to consult with your neighbour before starting the project and to ensure you have a survey to confirm the legal private and City property boundaries.  

Fences have height limitations to reduce sightline issues for vehicles and pedestrians:

  • Front yard fence maximum height – 1 metre or 3 ft. 3 inches. This also includes hedges.
  • Interior side yard or Exterior side yard or Rear yard fence - maximum height 2.2 metres or 7 ft. 2 inches
  • Fences must be upright, sufficiently sturdy and reasonably uniform in appearance
  • Barbed wire is only permitted on Industrially-zoned properties 

The City has the authority to enter on to private property and do the necessary repairs and recover all costs on taxes. 

 Outdoor Sign By-law
The City's Outdoor Sign By-law is in place to ensure signs are placed safely and to limit sightline issues for traffic and pedestrians. A sign is defined as any outside device that identifies a business or product or service visible to the public. Various signs are regulated, including Ground, Wall, Roof, Billboard and Portable Signs.

Restrictions for portable signs (most requested) include the following setbacks:

  • 25m or 82 ft.to another mobile sign on the same property
  • 9m or 29.5 ft. to an entrance to a property to allow for visibility
  • 1m 0r 3.2 ft. to any lot line
  • Can not be on City property

Any sign posted in violation of the Sign Bylaw can be removed promptly by any City employee and costs recovered from the owner. Digital signs are regulated so as to limit driver distraction. Illumination is required to be turned off from 11:00 pm to 7:00 am. 

 Noise Control By-law

The City's Noise Control By-law is in place to manage common noise issues such as loud music or barking dogs. 

Noises that are regulated under the Noise By-law include:

  • Sound from stereos or speakers - prohibited from 9 pm to 7 am
  • Loading/Unloading materials - prohibited from 9 pm to 7 am
  • Persistent barking - prohibited at all times

Industrial and Commercial properties are now require to ensure their doors and windows are closed during evening hours.

 Vacant Building Registry By-law

The City's Vacant Building Registry By-law is in place as vacant buildings often impact the character of a neighbourhood. They can have negative effects on property values, and detract from future investments. Vacant buildings are required:

  • To be secured from unauthorized entry
  • Utilities turned off to remove unsafe conditions like fire or flood

A building is deemed vacant if unoccupied for more than sixty (60) days.

Owners of vacant property are required to register these properties, and pay a fee to be vacant. Owners of vacant properties must also:

  • Ensure the property is secured from unauthorized entry
  • Turn off utilities to prevent fire or flood
  • Maintain liability insurance on the building
  • Protected the property against risk of fire
  • Provide a floor plan
  • Provide an inventory of combustible materials
  • Be compliant with all local bylaws, including the Property Standards By-law and the Lot Maintenance and Waste By-law